14 arrests in HMRC fraud probe

2012-03-15 Author: BCAA


14 people have been arrested in a joint HMRC and police raid in London and Northern Ireland over a suspected £15m money laundering, income tax and VAT fraud linked to the construction industry.

One of the men was arrested after two businesses and a home in Stoke Newington, London, were raided.

In what was the largest operation of its kind undertaken in Northern Ireland, HMRC, supported by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), also searched 31 business and residential properties in Belfast, Co Armagh, Co Antrim and Co Londonderry, arresting 12 men and one woman.

HMRC said an organised crime gang is believed to have created a chain of companies, claiming to sub-contract labour for construction projects, with the intent of disappearing before any tax was paid.

Business records, cash and computer equipment were seized during the operation.

John Whiting, HMRC’s assistant director of criminal investigation, said: ‘This investigation is targeting a suspected organised crime gang involved in sophisticated multi-million pound income tax and VAT frauds in the construction industry, and the associated laundering of the criminal profits.

‘The frauds are believed to have resulted in the theft of millions of pounds of public revenue. Tax fraud and attempts to launder the proceeds of crime are key priorities for HMRC, and we will continue to pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to be attacking the public purse in this way.’

The 13 arrested men and one woman are currently being interviewed by HMRC officers and investigations are continuing.